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11 things to consider when designing email marketing campaigns for real estate agents

11 things to consider when designing email marketing campaigns for real estate agents

min read

Building relationships with buyers and sellers is a long game.

Email marketing is one of the best ways to stay top of mind throughout the buying and selling process. Not only will you position yourself as the go-to real estate agent when the time is right, but you can use email marketing to ask for referrals and reviews to help build your reputation.

Creating a successful email marketing campaign requires striking a balance between strategy and execution. Before you even begin sending out emails, you need a “big picture” plan to guide your email campaign. 

These 11 tips and tactics for designing an email marketing campaign will help you understand your audience and optimize your messages so you can close more deals with happy clients.

<a href="#heading1" class="anchor-link">1. Conduct target audience research</a>

<a href="#heading2" class="anchor-link">2. Build the customer journey</a>

<a href="#heading3" class="anchor-link">3. Design drip sequences</a>

<a href="#heading4" class="anchor-link">4. Optimize for mobile</a>

<a href="#heading5" class="anchor-link">5. Automate</a>

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1. Conduct target audience research

Your target audience represents the demographic that is most likely to be interested in your services. By tailoring your marketing campaign to their needs, you increase the likelihood of improving key email KPIs, like conversion rates. 

Some demographic and geographic factors you might want to consider when conducting target audience research include: 

  1. Profession
  2. Location
  3. Family size
  4. Financial background and income level

You can also decide if your email marketing is targeting:

  • Sellers or buyers
  • First-time buyers or move-up buyers
  • People buying a temporary home or a forever home
  • Older citizens looking to downsize after their children have moved out

The more specific you get, the more effective your email marketing will be. Once you know your ideal client’s profile, you can tailor your messaging to their needs. 

You may want to create separate email campaigns for each target audience. Ideally, you want your subscribers to experience that moment when they say, “This person understands me!”

For example, if you’re targeting prospects buying a temporary home, highlight the value that they would get out of a certain listing. If the house is located in a neighborhood where prices are growing steadily, suggest that they can expect to turn a profit when they eventually move on to their forever home. 

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2. Build the customer journey

There’s no point in sending prospects endless newsletters and follow-ups without a clear trajectory.

Before you launch your email marketing campaign, map out your customer journey.
This is what their journey might look like:

A funnel illustration and table explaining the customer journey

Every stage of this journey should guide your behavior and the content you use. 

For example, you might send prospects in the Awareness stage some beautiful property photos and content about how to finance a home. 

When contacting people in the final phase, on the other hand, you should send referral emails and testimonial requests. 

A pipeline can help you track where each of your prospects is in the customer journey so you know exactly what kind of content to send at every step.

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3. Design drip sequences

An email drip campaign is an automated sequence of emails that runs on a predetermined schedule. It nurtures leads and maintains engagement – the results speak for themselves. 

Companies that use drip marketing effectively get 80% more sales at 33% lower costs.

For example, the prospect can trigger an email marketing sequence by entering their email address on a website. The automated drip sequence then sends a welcome email and a set number of follow-ups designed to share information and eventually lead to a sale.

Marketing tools and CRMs allow you to send out personalized email blasts and automatic follow-ups. These tools also give you access to a timeline of previous communication with the client to ensure you don’t send repeat emails.

What happens if the prospect responds to one of these automated emails?

First off, you should respond immediately. Then, you can choose to:

  1. Remove them from the drip sequence if the prospect doesn’t require further nurturing
  2. Move them to a different automated campaign for more engaged subscribers
  3. Keep them in the original sequence if it’s a generic marketing campaign (e.g., a property newsletter) 

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4. Optimize for mobile

There’s nothing more annoying than opening an email on your phone and having to scroll in all directions just to see what’s in it. 

That’s why you want your email to look like the example on the left and not the one on the right – especially in a world where mobile accounts for 43% of email opens, and roughly 70% of consumers delete non-responsive emails on mobile.

A comparison of an optimized or responsive email design on mobile phone on the left against the unoptimized or unresponsive email design on mobile phone on the right

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5. Automate

As a real estate agent, you have to nurture your leads over long periods of time as they go through their own buying and selling journeys. 

It’s not efficient if you write every single message personally. 

A better way to carry out email marketing is by automating your CRM. This allows you to schedule transactional emails and schedule email sequences at a specific time and date in the future. This maximizes your chances of getting a response, while still enabling you to personalize your content.

6. Use templates

Templates for real estate agents are useful because they help you streamline the process of email creation. Instead of creating every email from scratch, you and your team have a blueprint to build on. 

Email templates ensure your messaging is consistent no matter who in your team contacts the prospect, and they allow you to stay on top of follow-up and outreach with little additional effort.

Here’s a simple example:

Subject line: Thank you for attending our open house!

Dear [first name], 

I want to thank you for attending our open house at [open house address]. You’ll be happy to hear the house is still available, so if you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear it. 

If [open house address] isn’t the right fit for you, I’d be interested in hearing more about your preferences. We have a few similar properties that might be more suitable. 

You can reach me at this email or by phone at [insert phone number]. I’d be happy to answer any questions or arrange for house tours in the [neighborhood]. 


[your name and headshot]

[links to the website, social media, etc.]

Templates also make it easy to identify parts of the email that need to be improved.

Try experimenting with different elements, like the subject line, copy, and CTA to see what performs best with your clients. Email tracking metrics and A/B testing can help you figure out which variations guarantee the best results. 

7. Write preheader text

Preheader text supports your subject line by offering more context about the content of the email. It also serves as an added opportunity to convince the recipient to open the email.

An illustration of an email inbox showing the subject line and the preheader text

If your email marketing tool doesn’t have a specific input for the email preheader text, the first line of copy in your email will appear here.

Preheader text should be between 85 and 100 characters and should never repeat the subject line. 

How can you make sure that the preheader displays properly on both desktop and mobile?

Most email marketing platforms give you two options:

  1. A preview feature that gives you a sneak peek of what your email will look like.
  2. The ability to send test emails to your own inbox, so you can open them on various devices (e.g., your desktop, phone, tablet) and make sure they display correctly.

Alternatively, you can try tools such as Mailgun, Litmus, or Mailtrap

8. Decide on HTML vs plain text

A plain text email includes nothing but text. It looks no different from a message you might receive from your friends or coworkers. 

An HTML email is stylized to include colors, images, videos, and other elements. 

Each option has pros and cons.

Plain text emails are deliverable to all demographics and work across all devices. Because there’s no multimedia embedded, they come across as far more personal. 

But they aren’t visually exciting, and senders don’t get as much access to performance metrics since you can only really test open rates, link clicks, response rates, and copy changes. 

HTML emails, on the other hand, are visually exciting. Users can also track them and access a ton of performance data since there are endless variations to how an email can be styled and formatted.

A study found that plain text emails have a slight edge over HTML emails when it comes to performance metrics. However, at the end of the day, the choice rests on your shoulders as you are the one who gets to experiment and see which option works better for your subscribers.

9. Optimize your CTA

The call to action, or CTA, invites prospects to take an action like visiting your pricing page, downloading a resource, or scheduling a meeting. 

A CTA is important because it guides your potential client to the next step. The prospect might love your email and its content, but without a clear next step (your CTA), they’re likely to just close the email and continue with their day. 

In order to create an effective CTA:

  1. Only add one CTA to each email.
  2. Be specific.
  3. Use inviting or encouraging language.
  4. Keep it simple and short (ideally 2-3 words).
  5. Make sure it stands out in the color palette if you’re using an HTML email or by making it bold and separate from the rest of your copy in a plain text email.

If you follow these five tips, the results will speak for themselves. According to research, including one clear CTA in your email boosts clicks by 371%.

Take a look at this simple CTA, which leaves no doubt on the reader’s mind as to what to do next:

An email template with the CTA in red button at the bottom

10. Segment your email list

List segmentation means separating different types of clients to ensure they only receive relevant emails.

For example, you don’t want to send new listings to clients who’ve just purchased a home. And you don’t want to send an email about city apartments to prospects looking for a rural house. 

Marketers who use segmented marketing campaigns see up to a 760% increase in revenue because of their messages’ ability to target a specific audience and their needs. Tracking where each buyer or seller is in their journey as well as their preferences in a pipeline or another CRM tool can help you create accurate segments for your clients.

11. Personalize your emails

Personalization means using your knowledge about the potential client to grab their attention and increase engagement. 

One way to do this is by using the prospect’s name in the email subject line, which can improve open rates by 26%.

An email Compose showing the use of a prospect's name in the subject line made personalized for the recipient

But personalization should go beyond just using names. Since so much of real estate is about personal relationships, include information about the client as often as possible. 

Keep track of personal details in your pipelines so you’re able to ask questions about family members… or even the family dog. You can also celebrate personal triumphs: “I just saw on Facebook you’ve been promoted. Congratulations!”

Personalization also means focusing on the prospect’s needs. Let’s say you know a senior citizen looking to move into a smaller home because their children have moved away. You might say: “I saw a lovely two-bedroom apartment the other day, and I remembered you were thinking about moving out of that giant castle of yours.

Get started with email marketing

Whether you’re just getting started with email marketing or looking to increase your ROI, focusing on tactics like segmenting your email list and automating outreach will help you increase both the quality and quantity of your emails. 

As a result, you’ll have more data points to compare and use as insight to continually improve your email marketing campaigns.

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